Skip navigation
This policy document is currently under review to reflect The Australian National University Enterprise Agreement 2023-2026, which came into effect on 5 December 2023. Until this has been reviewed, the new Enterprise Agreement will take precedence over the provisions outlined in this document.

Procedure: Appointments – Senior Management Appointments and Contracts for Research School Directors


To outline the procedures underpinning the University’s recruitment and appointment of senior management contracts for Research School Directors.


Achievements relative to opportunity: Assessing achievements relative to opportunity involves giving consideration to the particular circumstances and experiences of the staff member. This supports appropriate evaluation of achievements in relation to productivity, the ability to participate in certain types of activities, and the consistency of activities or output over the period of consideration. The circumstances and experiences may include:

  • family responsibilities (eg. child rearing, elder care), illness of a partner/dependent);
  • a temporary or permanent disability;
  • periods of part time work;
  • relevant cultural expectations or circumstances; and
  • absences due to ill-health of injury.

Candidate information gathering conversation: A confidential search one-to-one meeting which provides candidates with an opportunity to ask questions and to seek information from key stakeholders in the University ahead of a final interview.

Confidential search: An appointment search in which the selection panel, and participants in candidate information gathering conversations or focus group discussions are entrusted with, and protect, candidate identity and information.

Informal search meeting: A confidential search meeting in person or that is technology enabled which allows shortlisted applicants and University staff to discuss a pre-identified topic or topics ahead of final interviews. The meeting can be led by the candidate or University staff, with a summary of the discussion by a nominated university staff member in the group provided back to the search panel chair. This is not an interview, and the group will not provide a comparative ranking of the candidates or recommend a preferred applicant.

Leadership: Achievements in research, education, administration or service that demonstrate a commitment to guiding and supporting the identification, attainment or review of goals or activities that advance the achievements of other individuals and or groups.


Position descriptions

  1. Senior Management staff, including Research School Director, position descriptions are developed in consultation with key stakeholders for the position, as identified by the Vice-Chancellor and the University Executive. Such position descriptions will:
  1. Align with the strategic directions of the University;
  2. Recognise the value of leadership and diversity;
  3. Specify the capabilities needed to fulfil the responsibilities and duties of the position;
  4. Make clear in advance of advertisement whether an underlying, substantive position is to be considered post contract;
  5. Provide information on the environment and reporting relationships of the role; and
  6. Meet the University’s legislative obligations.

Search for eligible applicants

  1. Prior to advertisement, College Deans will determine whether the search and selection process for the appointment of a Research School Director is to be conducted as an ‘open’ or a confidential process. Confidential processes are the preferred option. If there is a particular reason for wanting to conduct an open appointment process approval for this is to be sought from the Director, Human Resources and Deputy Vice-Chancellor prior to a request for advertisement being initiated.
  2. Requests for the search for a Research School Director are completed via the University’s approved online proforma.
  3. The requests include:
  1. An overview of the position;
  2. A detailed role statement;
  3. The selection criteria for candidates to demonstrate suitability to the role; and
  4. Details of the proposed selection process. For open processes this might include any proposed talk, seminar, lecture or teaching simulation that will be included in any open selection process for shortlisted applicants for Research Director roles. This must also include who is to attend, and to whom the activity will be advertised. For confidential processes this might include meetings, conducted in confidence, with focus groups comprised of small numbers of stakeholders or staff. Details of any such processes are to be entered into the notes field of the University’s request proforma, and provided to all applicants.
  1. In Units in which female representation is below the current Go8 average for the relevant discipline or disciplines, the request for advertisement will include a statement of strategies for enhancing diversity of the applicant pool. In all such cases searches will be closed and therefore confidential.
  2. The Office of the Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellors, and the HR Division will partner to work with Colleges on an annual statement of strategies for enhancing diversity of recruitment outcomes.
  3. The search for eligible applicants will reflect the University’s strategy for Indigenous recruitment. Consideration should be given to the advertisement of vacant positions through media sources selected specifically to capture the Indigenous community, including Indigenous Jobs Australia, via indigenous email networks, and from time to time, in newspapers such as the Koori Mail and the Indigenous Times.
  4. All positions are, in general, to be advertised, at least via the ANU Jobs website.
  5. In rare cases, the Director, Human Resources may give an exemption to advertising long term or continuing vacancies in circumstances such as:
  1. an appointment in a discipline area in which there is an institutional or national skills shortage;
  2. an appointment for which there is particular reason to fill the position by invitation; or
  3. an appointment for which there is an opportunity to support the University's goals in relation to indigenous employment.
  1. Positions will be advertised for no less than seven working days for external vacancies, and five working days for internal vacancies.

Application format

  1. Applications for senior management staff roles will consist of:
  1. a Curriculum vitae; and
  2. an expression of interest; and/or
  3. a portfolio or work; and/or
  4. a statement of claims against the selection criteria.

Constitution and activities of selection committees

  1. Selection committees are constituted by approval of the College Dean and include:
  1. The College Dean (Chair);
  2. The Vice-Chancellor and/or a Deputy Vice-Chancellor or their nominee(s);
  3. A person with relevant senior-level expertise and experience that is external to the College, and may be external to the University;
  4. Two to five senior academic staff with relevant expertise, with at least one being external to the College, and which in total presents a committee of gender parity or near gender parity in cases of an odd number of members;
  5. An Indigenous representative in those case in which Indigenous candidates are known to be part of the candidate pool. If an indigenous representative is not available, advice should be sought from the Indigenous Employment Advisor in the Human Resources Division, prior to selection taking place.
  1. Operation of selection committees:
  1. Apply University procedures and participate in training as appropriate;
  2. Respect the confidentiality of documentation and deliberation activities and communication of outcomes;
  3. Members should declare any conflict of interest, as soon as they become aware of it, and refer to the Chair to implement any mitigation activities, or in the case of the Chair, refer to a Deputy Vice-Chancellor or nominee to implement any mitigation activities;
  4. Provide a holistic appraisal of the applications against the position description or selection criteria, noting achievements relative to opportunity;
  5. Formulate questions and selection activities that align with the skills sought in the position description;
  6. Use technologies to mitigate barriers to participation by applicants;
  7. Interview all shortlisted applicants;
  8. Recommend applicants who are appointable or not appointable to the role, and identify a preferred candidate;
  9. Endorse for the consideration of the Chair: 1) a written description of the factors used to determine the outcomes of the search; 2) references for the preferred candidate, which by default are oral and completed on the approved proforma; and 3) In cases where no women have been shortlisted, an explanation of why that was the case.

Search Stages

  1. Once a search committee is constituted, the following search stages follow:
  • Longlist meeting (optional);
  • Shortlist meeting;
  • Shortlist signoff: in cases where fewer than 30% or 2 women are shortlisted, permission from the DVCA and Director HR is required for the search to proceed to final interview(s), based upon an evidence-based explanatory memo;
  • Informal meeting(s) with stake holders, with the number, focus, discussion lead and confidential nature of the meetings made clear to the candidates at the time of application (optional);
  • Presentation (in approved open cases, see above);
  • Final interview;
  • Referee reports. This will typically be done only for the top-ranked candidate(s). References are to be sought by the Chair. Verbal references are preferred, with the Chair to document the conversation and report the outcome to the Committee members.
  • Background checking and pre-offer screening

Determination of appointment to Research School Director roles

  1. Selection committees endorse, and the Vice-Chancellor approves, appointments to Research School Director roles.
  2. Background checking must be completed and reviewed, prior to an offer of employment
  3. Offers of employment are not made ahead of University Executive approval.

Communication of outcomes, offer of employment and merit list

  1. Outcomes of the appointment process are provided orally or in writing only by the Chair of the Selection Committee, or the appointed executive search firm.
  2. Employment at the University is conditional upon the following criteria:
  1. An employees must be eligible to work in Australia. Verification of citizenship, residency or visa status is required upon or prior to commencement by providing original or certified copies of the following documents: birth certificate, passport or valid working visa;
  2. The University may sponsor a Temporary Work (457) visa, to allow skilled workers to join the University for up to four years.
  3. An employees is required to verify their identity and qualifications prior to, or upon, commencement by providing original or certified copies of the following documents: photographic proof of identity (eg. Passport or drivers licence), marriage certificate or evidence of change of name, and tertiary qualifications (where applicable);
  4. An employee may be required to undertake a medical examination, where during the course of their employment with the University the Director, Human Resources forms the opinion that there are reasonable concerns that an employee is not fit to undertake normal duties;
  5. appointment letter of offer is subject to a security (criminal) check being undertaken by the University. The successful applicant must agree to disclose to the University such details as required for this check to be undertaken. Should the results of the security (criminal) check be unsatisfactory to the University, the terms of the appointment may be withdrawn in whole or in part. If the University becomes aware that the applicant failed to make a complete disclosure, the University may terminate the appointment of the applicant on the grounds of misleading and deceptive behaviour;
  6. An employee must not have accepted a redundancy or early retirement package from the University within the last 2 years; and
  7. Existing directorships, partnerships and secretaryships must be declared prior to the appointee accepting an offer of employment.
  1. A contract of employment must be provided to preferred candidate to make the offer of employment. The contract of employment will set out the terms and conditions that relate to the offer of employment. Only an authorised delegate of the University may issue a contract of employment.
  2. To be valid, a contract of employment must be signed and approved by the relevant delegate, issued on the approved university templates, and formally accepted in writing by the successful applicant before they commence work at the University.
  3. The contract of employment will include total remuneration package and supplementary incentives and support such as start-up grants, research support, and commitment for development activities such as leadership and governance training and coaching support.
  4. All binding terms and conditions of the employment relationship will be documented in the contract of employment and associated letters. No other arrangements, including verbal discussions, will be considered binding upon the University.
  5. The delegate will take the appropriate measures to ensure that all new starters are provided an efficient commencement process, including but not limited to:
  1. The provision of a contract of employment and position description prior to the commencement of duties;
  2. The provision of additional resettlement and transition support for staff who are relocating to Canberra. This may include, for example: immigration and relocation support; collection from airport; information on living in Canberra;
  3. A copy of the University code of conduct; and
  4. An appropriate University, College, School level induction process.
  1. The University offers relocation assistance for new staff. This is described under the relocation assistance guidelines at: Relocation Assistance for New Staff Guideline.
  2. Once a recruitment process is complete, candidates deemed suitable for the role may remain on a merit list for a period of up to 12 months. This merit list may be accessed for future appointments without further advertisement during this period.


Printable version (PDF)
Title Appointments – Senior Management Appointments and Contracts for Research School Directors
Document Type Procedure
Document Number ANUP_015823
Purpose To outline the procedures underpinning the University’s recruitment and appointment of senior management contracts for Research School Directors.
Audience Staff
Category Administrative
Topic/ SubTopic Staff - Employment of Staff
Effective Date 26 Mar 2021
Next Review Date 30 Jun 2024
Responsible Officer: Chief People Officer
Approved By: Chief Operating Officer
Contact Area Human Resources Division
Authority: The Australian National University Enterprise Agreement 2023-2026
Fair Work Act 2009
Delegations 135

Information generated and received by ANU staff in the course of conducting business on behalf of ANU is a record and should be captured by an authorised recordkeeping system. To learn more about University records and recordkeeping practice at ANU, see ANU recordkeeping and Policy: Records and archives management.